Chapter

The “Accoucheur D̓idées”

Edited by Bruce Caldwell

in Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226321097
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226321127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226321127.003.0014
The “Accoucheur D̓idées”

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This chapter recounts the transformation and contribution of Henri de Saint-Simon as a scientific reformer. It was at the age of thirty-eight that Saint-Simon took up his abode opposite the Ecole polytechnique, henceforth to interpret to the world the significance of scientific progress for the study of society. He was already a man of rich and varied experience; but scientific study had scarcely been included. The facts of Saint-Simon's earlier life, only quite recently brought to light, are considerably less elevating than the numerous anecdotes that he himself and his pupils have transmitted to us, and which until lately formed almost our sole information about his youth. The legends tell us that he was descended from Charlemagne, that d'Alembert supervized his education, and that his valet had orders to wake the ambitious young man daily with the words: Levez-vous, Monsieur le Comte, vous avez des grandes choses à faire. All this is not altogether impossible.

Keywords: Saint-Simon; scientific reformer; Ecole polytechnique; social phenomena; social interactions; positivists; social behavior; human behavior

Chapter.  7742 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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